RASPBERRY BAKED ALASKA SLICE WITH BURNT BUTTER SPONGE
SERVES 8-12 / PREPARATION 25 MINUTES / COOKING 11-13 MINUTES
The hot meringue/cold ice cream combination of baked Alaska is a winner, but they can be fiddly to put together at the last minute. Here I have simplified the whole process into a flat slice, so it takes only a few minutes to whip up the meringue and grill the top. If you want to finish the whole thing ahead of time, just gently cover the slice – trying to keep the wrap off the meringue – and freeze for up to three days. Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing 4 eggs
1¼ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract 100g self-raising flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
500g frozen raspberries
300ml cream freeze-dried raspberries to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 30cm x 20cm Swiss roll tin with one piece of baking paper, leaving a little overhang (this will help you lift the slice out of the tin). Don’t worry about lining the ends of the tin; just grease them with a little butter.
Put the butter in a saucepan and melt. Continue to cook the butter until it becomes golden brown – this will take about 2-3 minutes – then remove from the heat and pour into a cold bowl to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Separate 3 of the eggs, reserving the whites for the meringue. Whisk the 3 yolks with the remaining whole egg then, while whisking, add 1 tablespoon hot water and whisk for a minute until pale and creamy. While whisking, gradually add ¼ cup of the sugar and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla paste or extract and whisk until thick and pale – about 5 minutes.
Fold in the flour, salt and burnt butter until just combined. Spread into the tin and bake for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Lift the sponge out of the tin (keep the baking paper stuck to the bottom) and cool on a rack, then return to the tin (with the paper) and set aside.
To make the ice cream, put the frozen raspberries in a food processor with ½ cup of the remaining caster sugar. With the motor running, pour in the cream and blend to a thick ice cream texture. Spread this over the cake base. Wrap well, if freezing for more than a day, and freeze until needed.
To serve, set the oven rack about 15cm from the grill and preheat the grill to high. Whisk the reserved egg whites to soft peaks then whisk in the remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and the remaining ½ cup caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a stiff, glossy mixture. Remove the tin from the freezer and cover the top with meringue using a small spatula or knife. Grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, keeping an eye on it, until golden. Cut into slices and serve topped with crumbled freeze-dried raspberries, if desired.
WINE A complex, lively local bubbly – go for the Nautilus Estate Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV.